Hodges on fire at waka ama
Turi Hodges says emotion came over him in waves after his big waka ama win.
The 43-year-old Porirua Canoe Kayak Club stalwart won one of the blue ribbon events at the recent sprint nationals on Lake Karapiro, the masters men’s W1 500m.
He said he ‘‘completely blew’’ his semi- final, so was in the slowest lane for the final.
‘‘There was the heat, I’d put time in coaching and my training hadn’t been the best – I was shattered,’’ he said. ‘‘It wasn’t a good look for the club captain to be slowest qualifier, especially after the messages we have been pushing with the juniors.’’
Hodges’ home suffered a house fire last year, and he said much of his attention since had been on coaching and on painting his house.
For the final, he used his biggest paddle and gave it everything he had.
At the finish, he couldn’t see any of his rivals and thought he’d finished last.
Seeing club supporters in their distinctive blue colours going crazy on the bank was a moment he’ll never forget.
‘‘I lost control and gave a huge fist pump, not something I’d normally do.
‘‘This win was for my club and mates and everyone who supported my family. ‘‘I was just so happy. ‘‘For people to say I was an inspiration was very humbling.’’
It was Hodges’ second successive title in the event, and ranked up with his world and national long-distance titles, he said.
His good mate and rival Grant Barriball was sixth, three seconds behind Hodges.
Hodges also claimed third place in the premier men’s 250m dash, cementing his spot among the leading paddlers in the country.
The club eagerly awaited the Karapiro event each January, Hodges said.
‘‘It’s exciting – really well run and the atmosphere is great.
‘‘You know it’s come a long way when you see drones out over the course.’’
He said the regatta was a mixed bag for Porirua Canoe Kayak Club, with several medals won and a fifth placing overall in the club points.
Getting the junior paddlers to experience a nationals and having many parents also taking part in the sport was important, he said.
Hodges and his clubmates are now looking towards the longdistance nationals in Whangarei in April.
His sisters performed with distinction on Lake Karapiro — Mereana was fourth in the masters women’s W1 500m, Marianna was third in the premier women’s W1 500m and the W1 250m and Teremoana was in the masters crew that won the W6 500m race.
Other Porirua paddlers and crews to win medals included Toa’s Nohorua crew, who took gold in the intermediate men’s W6 500m race, Porirua Canoe Kayak Club’s Te Pua Inano premier women’s team, who won silver and bronze medals, and Mana Menz from Mana Pasifika Outrigger Canoe Club, who won a silver and a bronze.
Titahi Bay’s Marty McDowell, paddling for an Auckland club, finished third in the premier men’s W1 500m.
Golden boy: Turi Hodges during his hard-fought masters men’s W1 500m final.
Hard yards: Toa’s J16 crew Puaha in their W6 500m heat. From left, Michael Joshua Matthew Davies, Nikorima Nuttall, Te Paki O Hewa McKenzie, Temaia-o-Tipene McKenzie, Vaine Matamaru Mooar-Tangi, and Winham AllenMurray.
National champs: Porirua Canoe Kayak Club’s masters women’s crew Taimania win gold in the W6 500m race. From left, Elizabeth Pariakatea Savage, Naomi Brooking, Pania Margaret Tahau-Hodges, Sarah Snow, Selena Anne Katene and Teremoana Pearl HodgesTulepu.